Monday, 30 November 2009

The Voyage: Tuesday November 24

Position: 18°55'54.41"N 55°14'49.33"W

The clocks went back one last time and we are now on Guadeloupe time. GMT-4. I wake up at 7.30am and it is already very hot. Must be almost 30°.

There is swimming before and after breakfast, and some people worked on their last preparations for the final stories and replies to Sjón.
Margit started with her reply to her letter and special watch.
I have never worked with Margit before, and what I learnt from her during these two weeks is this: she has a special relationship with time. How Sjón could have known that is a mystery to me, but apparently he did. Whenever the clocks turned back an hour, Margit managed to wake up in the morning and look at the watch on her mobile phone to see 18.23. Or 21.06. She had no idea how that happened, and neither did we. Margit is her own time zone.

Anyway, we were all very curious how she would respond to the pocket watch full of loose cogs and handles.
As she started her mini performance, Mario walked in to collect our dirty cups and glasses. She invited him to stay and watch (in character). But Mario declined and walked off with the dirty dishes, only to come back 5 minutes later with Speedy. They both watched from the doorway and seemed to really enjoy it.

Margit's story inspired us to put a message into a balloon and let it go off the stern. It was great, until Doru came to warn us that they were working with liquid acid above our heads. So we left.

We discussed our plans for the 34 hours we'd spend in Guadeloupe. Tomorrow would be a day off, and on Wednesday we'd have a final meeting before flying home.

Staring out into the sea let us know we were getting closer to land. We spotted this sailboat (you'll have to click on the image to make it bigger, if not you won't see the sailboat).

We also saw this rainbow which seemed to come out of the bottom of the ship.

During lunch we were given back our passports, and the captain offered to organise taxi's for us.

After lunch Liz and Kjell showed us their Sjón mini-show, and at 4pm we went back to the bow to play music. The bow was a great discovery. It was the best place to see the sunset, and it was the quietest place on the ship.

Some of the crew came to find us to have a last chat with us. It was fantastic to see how they'd warmed to us. Xavier said he was very sad to see us leave. He also told us they would have a new passenger in Martinique, and she was bringing two horses and a pig. So Marie-Louise wouldn't be all alone on her way back over the Atlantic.

To our great amazement, the boat nearly stopped. We were early, so the captain had reduced the speed to 6 knots. He was using that time to teach some things to the cadets.
Kjell had disappeared from the bow because he had a sunstroke and couldn't be out in the sun for too long. An hour later the boat was brought back to full speed and Kjell came to join us as the sun was setting.

In case you'd missed that line:


Apparently the captain was on our floor looking for us, but could only find Kjell, so he took him up to the bridge, claiming he needed help. He gave Kjell the steering wheel (we were off autopilot), and gave him instructions to steer. He even took the camera and filmed Kjell sweating behind the wheel. Both the captain and Guilhem (second captain), were shouting instructions at Kjell, telling him where to look, mopping his brow, and generally taking the piss.

When we found out the whole thing had been filmed, we obviously wanted to see the evidence. We'd wait until after dinner, we had to pack our bags first. All of us looked at our winter gear with mixed feelings. We'd be needing that in a few days, and that seemed utterly surreal as we were sweating under the Carribean sun.

Over dinner the captain came to greet us and demanded to be invited to see the video of Kjell's steering work.
So at 8pm all the officers came in to laugh at Kjell. We all laughed along, but I for one was jealous I hadn't been there myself.

Marie-Louise joined us for the final stories - Tom, Kieran and Alex still owed us their last story.
Over the course of our passage we'd become friends with Marie-Louise. She proved to be an infinite source of knowledge, and she seemed happy to share it with us. One night she gave us a lecture on the origin of man. The map of the world in the living room had come in useful on many occasions.

By 10pm the work was done. We had a last drink and a last swim and went to bed early. We were meeting the pilot at 5.30am, and we all wanted to witness the sight of land.

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